COVID-19: When are exceptions to the appraisal inspection protocols for the use of exterior-only and desktop-only scope of work, due to the COVID-19 National Emergency, permitted?

An exception for the exterior-only option is limited to purchase cases, rate and term refinances, simple refinances, and HECMs.  An exception for the desktop-only option is limited to purchase cases.  Appraisals completed in connection with the servicing of FHA's forward or HECM portfolios may accept either an exterior-only or desktop appraisal.
Acceptability of using the Exterior-Only or Desktop-Only by FHA program type, additional instructions, appraisal forms and amended certification requirements are provided in Mortgagee Letters 2020-05 and 2020-20 available at:

HQ Policy Determination - COVID-19 guidance.

All policy information contained in this knowledge base article is based upon the referenced HUD policy document. Any lending or insuring decisions should adhere to the specific information contained in that underlying policy document.

Topic Number: KA-05430